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Air Recognition's Top Stories of 2016

World Aviation Defense & Security News - Air Recognition
Air Recognition's Top Stories of 2016
As 2016 comes to an end, here is an overview of the top ten defense aerospace stories we published this year, based on the number of readers for each story. As you can see, the use of combat helicopters in the war against terrorism and the maiden flight of Japan's X-2 demonstrator drew a lot of interest among Air Recognition readers. Some Russian and US advanced research programs were other topics that drew a lot of attention.
Japan's first ATD-X demonstrator aircraft has been showcased to the public
(Credit: Sankei Shimbun)
1# New pictures of Japan's ATD-X Shinshin 5th gen aircraft demonstrator

New pictures of the Japan-made Advanced Technology Demonstrator – X (ATD-X) have been released on the internet by Japanese daily newspaper Sankei Shimbun. The first prototype of the future F-3 5th gen fighter aircraft has been showcased today, Jan. 28, to industrial representatives and local press by Japan Air Self-Defense Forces officials.
Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter
2# Pakistan and combat helicopters in the war against terrorism

The role of combat helicopters on the modern battlefield is expanding due to the increasing Islamic State`s (IS) terroristic group activity and the anti-terroristic coalition`s backlash. Several countries from the Persian Gulf, the Near East and the Central Asia regions are paying a lot of attention to the issue, acquiring the modern Russian, US, and European helicopters to provide close air support to their own forces and effective destruction of the IS`s facilities.
RuAF brand new Il-76MD-90A transport aircraft
(Credit: Ilyushin)
3# Russian pilots start training on new Il-76MD-90A transport aircraft

In January 2016 the flight operation of the first Il-76MD-90A began in with the Russian Military transport aviation (MTA). Pilots of MTA center in Ivanovo began exploring the new heavy military carrier. Commander of MTA Vladimir Benediktov and Head of Ivanovo Aviation Center Igor Matveev participated in the first flights.
Lt. Col. George Watkins, 34th Fighter Squadron commander, drops a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb from an F-35A at the Utah Test and Training Range Feb. 25, 2016
(Credit: USAF/Jim Haseltine)
4# USAF F-35A fighter jets dropped GBU-12 laser-guided bombs for the first time

Airmen from USAF's 388th and 419th Fighter Wings dropped laser-guided bombs at the Utah Test and Training Range, marking the first time an F-35 combat unit has employed weapons from the F-35A. Lt. Col. George Watkins, 34th Fighter Squadron commander, said employing weapons on the F-35 allows pilots to more fully engage the aircraft and confirm that everything works as planned.
A HH-60G Pave Hawk from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., will be at Edwards AFB, Calif., until Jan. 22, 2016, where the 412th Test Wing and 418th Flight Test Squadron are providing facilities, range safety, photographic documentation and maintenance support equipment for testing of the GAU-21 .50-caliber machine gun.
(Credit: USAF/Christopher Okula)
5# USAF started testing the GAU-21 machine gun on HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter

Arriving in the rain, an HH-60G Pave Hawk landed Jan. 5 at USAF's Edwards Air Force Base to begin testing the ballistic dispersion of a GAU-21 .50-caliber machine gun. The Pave Hawk will be at Edwards AFB until Jan. 22 where the 412th Test Wing and 418th Flight Test Squadron are providing the facilities, range safety, photographic documentation and maintenance support equipment.
DARPA's ALIAS concept
(Credit: DARPA)
6# DARPA completes first flight test of ALIAS advanced Sense-and-Avoid system

A research effort associated with DARPA’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program recently conducted the first successful flight tests of a shoebox-sized, plug-and-play system designed to enable manned and unmanned aircraft to automatically detect nearby aircraft and avoid potential mid-air collisions.
Cessna will deliver six C208 Grand Caravan EX aircraft in support of PACOM & AFRICOM counterterrorism meausres
(Credit: Cessna/Textron Aviation)
7# US orders C208B aircraft in support of counterterrorism measures in Africa & Pacific

The United States awarded Cessna Aircraft Co. a $24mn contract for the Building Partnership Capacity C-208B Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Program. The contract for six aircraft was awarded on September 21 by the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Centre at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
(Credit: IAF/Maj. Ofer)
8# Israel's F-16A/B Netz fighter jets landed for the last time

36 years of operational activity have come to an end this morning as the Israel Air Force's "Netz" (F-16A/B) landed from their flight and shut off the engine for the last time. The IAF parts from the first of F-16 aircraft that are leaving a hefty past behind them and a promising future ahead.
A modified MC-130J waits for its next mission at Eglin AFB
(Credit: USAF/Samuel King Jr)
9# USAF tests fuel-saving winglets on MC-130J Commando II aircraft

The USAF 413th Flight Test Squadron, based at Eglin AFB, Florida, recently started flight of C-130 Hercules military airlifter fitted with "fuel-saving" winglets, the USAF announced on April 19, 2016. Lockheed Martin originally lead the program, but abandoned it three years ago.
Separation testing of the ASRAAM, or AIM-132, was conducted in the 4-foot transonic aerodynamic wind tunnel at the AEDC Propulsion Wind Tunnel facility in 2008. Pictured is a test model of the F-35 with AIM-132 separating from the weapons bay
(Credit: USAF)
10# RAF moving forward in ASRAAM missile integration on F-35 fighter jet

In February 2016, missile manufacturer Matra BAE Dynamics Alenia announced that the first Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles were delivered to the U.S. for integration and testing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II. Store separation testing of the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile has been conducted in the wind tunnels at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex, Arnold Air Force Base.